Woburn Abbey Today

Your Guide to Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey first opened to the public in 1955 and has welcomed visitors from all over the globe. There are 22 rooms that you can experience, which house one of the most significant private art collections in the world.

As you explore the many individual rooms of Woburn Abbey, you will also discover 18th Century French and English furniture, magnificent silver and gold collections, in the underground vaults, and a marvellous range of porcelain and many privately collected items treasured by generations of the Russell family.

These captivating rooms and fascinating antiques show a personal side to a public family that has been instrumental in many significant periods of English history.  


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford

400 years of history

The Abbey has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, one of England's most powerful families, since the 1620's. It is currently the home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford and their children. Russell family members have included Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Lord High Admirals and philosophers over the centuries and provide a direct link to the events of the past that shaped the England of today. 

> Our Family Tree


Image for Woburn Abbey Today One of our views of Venice by Canaletto

Over 250 works of art

View one of the most outstanding collections of art works on public display. These include:

  • The largest private collection of Venetian views painted by Canaletto on public view
  • The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
  • Artists such as Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Reynolds, and Van Dyck
  • Artworks by Queen Victoria and Richard Stone

> Art and the Collection


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The Grotto

22 Rooms To Discover

The splendid rooms include:

  • The unique Grotto which dates from the 1630s
  • The State Apartments with original 18th century architecture
  • The Holland Library which is one of the largest private libraries with an extensive collection of natural history books
  • Underground vaults housing the family's gold and silver collection
  • The Chinese Room with its decorative wallpaper

> Must See Treasures


Image for Woburn Abbey Today Woburn Abbey is an example of Palladian architecture

At The Heart of an English Palladian Home

The Abbey has been at the centre of social and political history which includes tales of political reform, Royal State visits, imprisonment, beheading, grand tours, love affairs and more. Famous house guests have included monarchs, politicians, leading naturalists, famous designers, architects and adventurers. 

> Our Timeline


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Events & Exhibitions

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Come and Grow: First Saturday of each month

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Woburn Abbey Gardeners are on hand to discuss and demonstrate gardening skills at this month's Come and Grow.
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Martyna Wren The World Can Wait Afternoon Tea

The Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome Martyna Wren in February 2015 to perform original songs from her The World Can Wait tour.
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The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair

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Visit a wide variety of pop up wedding shops in the period Antique Quarter of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey.
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Mothering Sunday at The Sculpture Gallery

Celebrate Mothering Sunday at The Sculpture Gallery and spoil your Mum with this extra special treat.
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Kitchen Gardening

Learn a variety of skills to take away and use in your own Kitchen Garden.
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Cycletta

Macmillan Cycletta is the UK’s leading series of women only bike rides, set in spectacular, family-friendly venues.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2015

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Whether you are a gardening expert, handy with a trowel or never potted a plant before, all are welcome at ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’, back for its sixth year in 2015.
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Introduction to Garden Photography

A great opportunity to learn the basics of digital photography
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Bug Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bugs to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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De Havilland Tiger Moth Rally

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The International Tiger Moth Rally Returns to Woburn Abbey this August.
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tri for life triathlon powered by Prezzo

We're pleased to be welcoming the tri For life charity triathlon back to Woburn Abbey in 2015.
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Humphry Repton Study Day

Take an in-depth look at the career of Humphry Repton and what made him such a remarkable landscape gardener.
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Planning Your Garden

Discover the horticultural skills needed to prepare a site. Try planting to a site plan with correct spacing and positioning.
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Planting & Composting in Your Garden

Learn how to identify different types of plant and the situations that suit them. Draw up your own scale plan for a border. Our gardeners will guide you through the process of making a leaf mould and discuss techniques you can use at home.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Pruning Study Day

Explore basic pruning, pruning for shape and technical pruning skills
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Propagation Study Day

Investigate various propagation techniques
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Trees & Shrubs Study Day

Find out about the different requirements of a variety of trees and shrubs. Discover which would best suit your garden.
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Luminaries Woburnensis

Illuminating the Abbey Gardens after dark, an evening of enchantment and adventure featuring light, fire and ice.
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Introduction to Night Photography

A great opportunity to learn the basics of digital photography at night.